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Author Topic: XR250 day trip....Jhb - Belfast - Jhb  (Read 1426 times)

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Offline blauth

XR250 day trip....Jhb - Belfast - Jhb
« on: September 17, 2017, 08:21:47 am »
So, armed with cycling shorts that feel like a nappy and a few spares, I headed into the eastern wilderness. The round trip was about 640km. My route takes me from Kyalami along the railway lines to about midway between Bronchorstspruit and Witbank. This is jeep track mainly. I then head north and go around the top of Loskop dam which is dirt roads of varying degrees. From there, I head to Stoffberg and depending on time, I go via Dullstroom or through Belfast which has become a shit hole of note. I headed home again on the tar.

I did my last two years of school in Belfast and it was a nice little mining town at the time. Now it's just another African disaster where some of the tar roads are almost non existent, everything is in disrepair and the entire town is just a mess. Sad to see but unfortunately this is progress according to our Government....  :eek7:

Anyway, back to the review. As you can see, my tyres are hardly off-road tyres. They are still the original tyres the bike came with from the factory, six years ago I think and I didn't bother to run them any softer than I use on the road. I generally don't for fear of damaging rims and impact punctures. The obvious result is limited traction but if you work around this, it's all good. I only overshot two corners a little....oops, note to self, a bit hot into those corners then....open eyes.  >:D

On the first 150km of jeep track, I can honestly say this little bike blew me away. I mostly would not be able to have ridden much quicker on my previous 525 or DRZ. This little bike punches way above it's weight in this sort of terrain. What was immediately noticeable is you rely on front wheel traction a lot more when you don't have the power to power slide around corners or wheelie over obstacles. This leaves you seeking every bit of traction you can find...little burms, ruts, chunks of grass, rocks...whatever to get the little bike leaned over to take the corners with pace. The smooth bends are more tricky to do fast. Having to put as much weight as I could on my outside peg, they involved a precarious balancing act on the edge of the traction limits. The suspension didn't bottom out once and there are a handful of reasonable size hits and some donga's whilst heavily on the brakes. The suspension is superb. One complaint I have with most adventure bikes I've had is that their suspension is a little harsh on high speed compression (sharp edges and rocks) making the feel harsh. None of that on this little thing, smooth as silk. With real dirt orientated tyres, this little bike will really be able to hustle at pace. I did notice that the combination of a wide seat and good suspension had me sitting a lot more than usual. This bike will turn me into a lazy rider  :P

At this time, the temperatures weren't hot and the little bike was pulling very well indeed. I wasn't wanting for gobs of power, having settled into the acceptance that this is a little bike and it's up to me to adapt to it. It's handling characteristics afterall more than make up for the marginal power.

When I got to the dirt roads, this is where the ambient temperature started to rise and the engine was working hard. I noticed a lag in power at one point and the bike seemed to be only happy to do about 95km/h and when I pulled the clutch in, she just died. I think the constant wide open throttle, load and temperature was taking it's toll on the little bike. So on the gravel, I backed off to about 90km/h and tried not to load it much. I started getting a little worried that perhaps I've jetted it too lean now with the 128 main and perhaps that contributing to the overheating. So the rest of the route to my dad was not wide open throttle but rather gauging how the engine was feeling and keeping the load at acceptable levels. One thing I must say is that at speed on gravel, the bike is very stable and manageable and doesn't get it's nickers in a knot when you get those thick sandy patches with tracks in them. That is a major bonus.

On my Transalp, I used to shit myself in those loose conditions because at speed the bike would just want to wander all over the place and standing was so uncomfortable that it just became unpleasant.

After having lunch with my dad, I started heading home at about 15:30...a bit late but I was gonna head home on the road so it wouldn't take that long. Heading home was a seriously Kak trip! I decided not to go on the highway due to my speed limitations and with the headwind, it was a challenge getting to 100km/h at some points. So between Belfast and Middelburg, my average speed was maybe 85-90km/h. This was seriously painful. by the time I went through Witbank, it was about 17:00 and the wind had subsided and temperatures were dropping. I climbed onto the highway and found that cruising at about 110km/h was doable without feeling like the engine was stressing too much. I took the Bronchorstspruit turnoff to take the back route to Kempton and by now it was dead calm and the temperature was much cooler. I was also gatvol so I twisted the ear on the little bike. My speed crept up to about 115-120km/h and the funny thing is, the little bike felt very happy to just buzz along at that pace.

My fuel consumption going there was probably about 23km/l. Coming back was maybe 21-22km/l. I'm not surprised given the beating I gave this little bike with that headwind. During the week, I had achieved 26km/l on my daily commute.

I'm still a little concerned that jetting is now too lean so I'll put the 138 main jet back in and see. I won't put the washers under the needle though. It was always the mid-range that i was unhappy with so let's see how that turns out.

In summary, this little bike is outstanding on the rougher going. It's ok on the open road provided temperatures are not too high and you're not dealing with a headwind. Fuel consumption is not great, being comparable to a DR650. Range for adv riding is roughly 240km, maybe a bit more in better conditions with a less enthusiastic rider. I would go as far as to say that if I can get the jetting so that I feel comfortable to just keep it pinned the whole time, then this will rank as one of my best adventure bikes ever.

It is NOT for folk who want to do major distance on tar......
« Last Edit: September 17, 2017, 08:35:20 am by blauth »
 
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Offline blauth

Re: XR250 day trip....Jhb - Belfast - Jhb
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2017, 08:22:52 am »
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Offline blauth

Re: XR250 day trip....Jhb - Belfast - Jhb
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2017, 08:23:38 am »
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Offline blauth

Re: XR250 day trip....Jhb - Belfast - Jhb
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2017, 08:24:25 am »
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Offline katana

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Re: XR250 day trip....Jhb - Belfast - Jhb
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2017, 09:01:58 am »
Thank you for sharing.  I plan to to do north along the west coast one of these days on my TTR.  These light bikes do make it tons more relaxing.  Your post is good inspiration that it will be fun - if a bit slow.   ;)
If you want to haul ass, you gotta mix gas.
 

Offline hje

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Re: XR250 day trip....Jhb - Belfast - Jhb
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2017, 05:52:08 pm »
Indeed an interesting read, am currently also looking at something in the 200 / 250 class. You definitely make it sound like it's gonna be worth the effort.  :ricky:
Live each day as if it's your last................just ride.....

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Offline blauth

Re: XR250 day trip....Jhb - Belfast - Jhb
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2017, 06:42:32 pm »
You know it didn't occur to me until today but I'm normally a little sore and stiff after this ride. Today....nothing. I was also nice and fresh when I got to my old man yesterday. This little bike does assist you with long hours in the saddle.....provided it's not on the tar for hours on end.

The TTR is a winner. Awesome bike. Do it and tell us about it.

I see many adventures in my future on this little thing.

Offline fcprinsloo

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Re: XR250 day trip....Jhb - Belfast - Jhb
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2017, 07:06:31 pm »
Thanks for sharing!  Great write-up!
 

Offline katana

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Re: XR250 day trip....Jhb - Belfast - Jhb
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2017, 09:35:42 pm »
You know it didn't occur to me until today but I'm normally a little sore and stiff after this ride. Today....nothing. I was also nice and fresh when I got to my old man yesterday. This little bike does assist you with long hours in the saddle.....provided it's not on the tar for hours on end.

The TTR is a winner. Awesome bike. Do it and tell us about it.

I see many adventures in my future on this little thing.
I am waiting for another member to finish his to join in....   :peepwall:
If you want to haul ass, you gotta mix gas.
 

Offline M3X3Z3

Re: XR250 day trip....Jhb - Belfast - Jhb
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2017, 02:48:10 pm »
Great little bikes for what they are.

Because they are somewhat under powered you really need to get involved with the bike and thats what brings the enjoyment.http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/Smileys/default/ricky.gif

Did you get any performance gains from the exhaust slip on and re jetting ?
Now: Honda XR250  KTM 690R  KTM 500
Then: XR650R  TE510  TE630  SMS630  690R
 

Offline blauth

Re: XR250 day trip....Jhb - Belfast - Jhb
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2017, 11:10:06 am »
Great little bikes for what they are.

Because they are somewhat under powered you really need to get involved with the bike and thats what brings the enjoyment.http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/Smileys/default/ricky.gif

Did you get any performance gains from the exhaust slip on and re jetting ?

I can't really comment on performance gains because the pipe was on the bike when I bought it but I am still trying to fine tune the jetting. I've never ridden a std XR250 Tornado so I really can't say.

Put it this way, if it had the std pipe on it when I got it, I would never fit an aftermarket pipe for performance purposes. It's somewhat academic on a little bike like this with such marginal power to start with.

Also, depending on bike, I've notice that some have responded really well to an aftermarket pipe and others not. I think modern bikes have well designed exhausts and they perform well. Weight is a fairly significant factor with modern bikes though.

Offline Roxtar

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Re: XR250 day trip....Jhb - Belfast - Jhb
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2017, 11:27:34 am »
Great bikes these 250 Honda's  :thumleft:
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Offline walkaboutboertjie

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Re: XR250 day trip....Jhb - Belfast - Jhb
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2017, 04:43:07 pm »
Thanks for sharing Blauth ... been watching Namakwalanders XR's transformation closely (must still comment there) ... and when I saw your plan to go lightweight I was wondering what you will get, seems like you got a good deal indeed on your Tornado.   :thumleft: 
 

Offline Stevie

Re: XR250 day trip....Jhb - Belfast - Jhb
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2017, 05:52:45 pm »
Nice Blauth

Just completed a run to Bray on the 350 and can echo your sentiments.
 

Offline Sheepman

Re: XR250 day trip....Jhb - Belfast - Jhb
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2017, 07:32:34 pm »
Great report - thanks a lot. It just goes to show again that one does not need the biggest, meanest and heaviest bike to have some fun.
 

Offline M3X3Z3

Re: XR250 day trip....Jhb - Belfast - Jhb
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2017, 08:55:01 am »
Great little bikes for what they are.

Because they are somewhat under powered you really need to get involved with the bike and thats what brings the enjoyment.http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/Smileys/default/ricky.gif

Did you get any performance gains from the exhaust slip on and re jetting ?

I can't really comment on performance gains because the pipe was on the bike when I bought it but I am still trying to fine tune the jetting. I've never ridden a std XR250 Tornado so I really can't say.

Put it this way, if it had the std pipe on it when I got it, I would never fit an aftermarket pipe for performance purposes. It's somewhat academic on a little bike like this with such marginal power to start with.

Also, depending on bike, I've notice that some have responded really well to an aftermarket pipe and others not. I think modern bikes have well designed exhausts and they perform well. Weight is a fairly significant factor with modern bikes though.

My  bike is still stock but I have a large flat spot in the mid throttle range when the engine is under load that I would really like to correct.
I approached the local Honda dealership on this and they said that the carburetor on that bike is a closed system i.e. it is not possible to change jetting etc.
Now it seems that that is not the case.

Would you, or anyone else, mind sharing what jetting changes you have done to the carburetor, what further cahnges you think are possible and where you source your jets from.
TIA
Now: Honda XR250  KTM 690R  KTM 500
Then: XR650R  TE510  TE630  SMS630  690R